Maine insurance agency slammed for racist Juneteenth message


The Harry E. Reed Insurance Agency in Millinocket, Maine, faced backlash over a racist sign posted in its window.

The Harry E. Reed Insurance policies Company in Millinocket, Maine, confronted backlash in excess of a racist sign posted in its window.


Update: Insurance coverage businesses Allstate and Progressive each ended their partnerships with the Harry E. Reed Insurance Agency after controversy erupted more than the offensive indicator, WGME reported. The person who posted the indicator apologized on Fb and mentioned she experienced been reprimanded. The primary story appears below.

A business in Maine is facing backlash over a racist sign posted in its window on Juneteenth.

“Juneteenth ~it is whatever…” the indication explained. “We’re shut. Appreciate your fried chicken & collard greens.”

A picture of the indication, taped to the front of the Harry E. Reed Insurance plan Agency in Millinocket, was shared on Fb on Monday, June 20, by a resident of the town, Alura Stillwagon, who reported “the racism in Millinocket is real.”

The agency did not promptly react to a ask for for remark from McClatchy Information.

A spokesman for Progressive, which is affiliated with the company, advised NPR that the organization is “aware and appalled by the indicator.”

“At Progressive, Variety, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are basic to our Main Values. We’re dedicated to creating an ecosystem where our persons sense welcomed, valued and respected and anticipate that anybody representing Progressive to just take component in this dedication,” Jeff Sibel explained to the outlet. “The sign is in immediate violation of that motivation and does not align with our company’s Core Values and Code of Carry out.”

Stillwagon’s mom, Lisa Groelly, advised her about the indication, NPR reported.

“I had to go through it additional than when since I thought it was one thing [my mom] noticed on Fb,” Stillwagon told the outlet. “But when she reported it was a enterprise [in town], I was right away disgusted. Individuals have this notion that Maine isn’t very racist and that it is really liberal. But up north, it’s not like that at all.”

The business’ information was immediately condemned by city officials and people of the city.

Millinocket Town Council Chair Steve Golieb dealt with the matter in a June 21 statement, indicating it is “deeply saddening, disgraceful and unacceptable” for anybody to “make mild of Juneteenth and what it signifies for hundreds of thousands of slaves and their residing descendants.”

“There is no position in the City of Millinocket for this sort of a blatant disregard of human decency,” the statement reported.

Negative opinions for the agency also began pouring in on Yelp and Google Assessments.

As of June 22, the company has two stars on Google. Its Yelp website page, which has 84 reviews and 1 star, shows an inform indicating that the organization has not long ago obtained adverse general public attention and an inflow of new assessments.

“We have briefly disabled the ability to publish in this article as we do the job to examine the material,” Yelp claimed on the business’ website page. “While racism has no area on Yelp and we unequivocally reject racism or discrimination in any kind, all assessments on Yelp should mirror an actual 1st-hand consumer knowledge (even if that usually means disabling the capacity for consumers to categorical points of perspective we could possibly concur with).”

Most of the business’ existing Yelp evaluations reference the indicator and criticize the business for publishing it.

The incident is a reminder that Maine isn’t removed from its heritage, University of Maine background professor Mary Freeman told the Bangor Every day News.

“The simple fact that this particular person could build a signal that does not use an clear racial slur, but even now will get its information throughout by drawing on these sorts of associations and photographs that have had a racist affiliation in American culture again reveals how Maine is not so significantly taken off from this heritage,” Freeman instructed the outlet.

Groelly, the mother of the Facebook consumer who at first shared shots of the indicator, instructed NPR that she hopes the incident is a wake-up connect with to people of the town.

“People will need to know their background. They require to comprehend that there was a lot of struggling and that this getaway is warranted — and it’s wanted,” Groelly told the outlet.

Juneteenth, celebrated nationally on June 19, was noticed as a federal holiday on June 20 this calendar year. The celebration grew to become a federally regarded holiday break in 2021 and commemorates the anniversary of when in excess of 250,000 enslaved Individuals in Texas been given phrase in Galveston that they have been free by govt decree, in accordance to the Smithsonian Nationwide Museum of African American History & Lifestyle.

The getaway has been celebrated by Black communities in the U.S. because 1865, but only not too long ago turned a federal holiday getaway when it received renewed nationwide awareness pursuing the murder of George Floyd on May perhaps 25, 2020, McClatchy Information claimed.

This tale was originally posted June 22, 2022 3:46 PM.

Vandana Ravikumar is a McClatchy Real-Time reporter. She grew up in northern Nevada and examined journalism and political science at Arizona State University. Beforehand, she described for Usa These days, The Dallas Early morning Information, and Arizona PBS.


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